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BY THE DUST OF 'EM ALL CHAPTER 15

 Post subject: BY THE DUST OF 'EM ALL CHAPTER 15
PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:21 pm 
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DOWN HIVE MISFIT
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:02 am
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Location: WANDERING THE BADZONES
CHAPTER 15 : CROSSROADS

Hive City. The crowded, roaring intensity of the people and their commerce was nothing short of amazing too those who only new life above in the shimmering Spire, or below in the depths of the Underhive. Millions toiled to scrape a living for their House. Industry and honor was the name of the game here. Anonymity seemed to suit the general population just fine , most never leaving, and those that do- rarely if ever, return. It is a hard life by most Imperial standards, but far more “decent” one than most live out in the Badzones and Ash Wastes.

Grimskull and Nadine were fortunate enough to make their way towards the stronghold of House Goliath without any incident. They had lost their stalker in the chaos that was the Hive city itself, for now it seemed. Grimskull had known he would be safe in the domain of his people. To cross the lines of a House without being welcomed meant imprisonment or worse. He held council with two aging Goliath diplomats. Doing his best to ease their minds of the rumors they had heard about him, and his hired Orlock gunman. Nadine said nothing. She listened to their conversation and took note of their names for her own purposes and had sent for a messenger servo-skull to find any information about an Orlock named “ Ren” , to see if he had entered Hive City.
Hours seemed to pass as Grimskull sspoke with the old men and the servo-skull had no luck in his mission. Nadine cracked her knuckles, wondering how she was going to find him and Dax.

Grimskull knew to have the blessing of the House was gravely needed if he was to continue on with his plans, of which he told half-truths to the old men. Never the less, he was here for good reason, as he needed his House to know that House Vega spies were lurking from the Spire to Hive Bottom. Grimskull having made his fortunes in the Underhive was respected enough by the elders that he was granted a large sum of credits to finance the next part of plan. Nadine was shocked when Grimskull told her just how much creds it was.

That’s enough to buy a fraggin’ ship!” she whispered to Grimskull once the diplomats had left.

GrimSkull smiled and stood. “Aye darlin’, it is. Think of many gangers and mercs I can get. Think of all the armor and weapons I will have. The Destroyers will be back in business and with new blood to back it up. Fortify Slagville and reclaim much of the North Badzones. Not just that but we gonna be damn well ready when them half cyborg freak Vegas come prowlin’ and gunnin’ for us.” He stated matter of factly.

She was beginning to wonder just what the old brute had in mind now, as this was the first time she had heard him speak of such things. She walked beside the grinning old gang leader, as they made their way out of Goliath territory and headed for the transit tunnels. So many families and workers going Emperor knows where, though she knew that many would be going down hive to make a new life. Boarding a freighter they sat in silence as the ancient magnetic rails shipped them down and down, into the underbelly of Hive Primus. The last stop was in fact, the gigantic ramps that would lead them to the very floor of Necromunda. Massive tunnels led to the outside and its’ numerous shanty towns and the Ash Wastes itself.

The tunnels they sought though; those went further down and was not safe by any standards. Yet Grim knew his way, as did Nadine. They kept their pace as normal as could be. Keeping ones calm while entering the Underhive is a matter of life and death. Trying still to blend in with the loose herd of wandering families and ragged looking prospectors, they found the service lift they needed. It would take them to the area known as Blood Alley; a small dome filled with demolished buildings, so oxidized that the whole place seemed to glow red. Before Grimskull was even born it had been the sight of a massacre between two gangs and a wyrd, and the dome just rotted away after that. It was but a mere two hour ride before they would set foot into that dusky rust bowl. Grimskull did not seem worried at all and the fact no one else had ridden with them was even better. Nadine bit her lip in effort to not crack a smile. She was happy to be going back-back to find Dax.

***
The Stranger hated to admit it. He was lost. He thought for sure he would have been near the Echo at least. Somehow he knew he wasn’t and he was not sure where he was. It seemed he took a wrong turn or two after passing Gutter Wells. Rather than double back for fear of running into more potential hit men, he pressed on. He could be anywhere really. The Underhive was a massive honeycomb of tunnels and domes that stretched on for kilometers in all directions. For all he knew he was somewhere on the outskirts of the Sprawls or the Blue Corner. He cursed himself for not knowing exactly where he was.

He marched down long winding passages for what seemed like hours. Flashing his blue light down the corridor he could vaguely make out what appeared to be a fenced off access point. Bolting towards it, boots kicking up dust and crushing the massive roaches along the path, he was anxious to discover where it led to. Time was running short and he needed the quickest route to Dead Mans’ Hole. House Vega assassins were on the hunt and who knows how many more Delaque gangs he could run into. Tearing back the wire mesh fence and squeezing into the blocked doorway, he made his way inside. The overhead tube lighting flickered sporadically and even when it did, the glow it gave was dim at best. The air was cold and it stank of rotten food. Probably scavvies had lived here not too long ago. Deeper and deeper he ventured into what now appeared to be a hab dome, though it was so quiet and dark, he doubted anyone had lived here now. It was a settlement nevertheless an so Dax made his way to the nearest structure,and scaled it to get a better view of the area.
Letting the smoke roll out from his lips he scanned the dome. The majority of it was covered in darkness. Only the main drag and a few side streets and alleys were lit by the fading glow lamps. He knew one thing, if there was a way in there had to be a way out.
He made for the avenue hoping we would see a sign post or some other identifier to let him know where he was. Hab after hab, not a sign. Just boarded up windows and doors. The place had been abandoned for ages it seemed. Here and there he found ammo casings, rag dolls, boots and scraps of clothing. Reaching the center of the settlement he began to smell the stink again. It was not rotten food or refuse, no he seemed to recall the stench before, on the battlefield before….
The hairs on his neck stiffened and he drew his pistols. A cold sweat beaded on his forehead but he was calm. He moved slowly towards the fallen aquila made of stone laying broken on the ground. His eyes darted back and forth, he spun aiming his pistols, taking severe precaution. Kneeling down he wiped away the ash on the aquila and read the letters engraved in its center.
“Lost Hope.” Dax whispered.
“(&#$@!).” He said as he realized he made a grave mistake and knew that he had definitely smelled the reek of rotting corpses.
He dared not break into a run, as panic is usually what ends him in a den of ghouls like Lost Hope. It had been quarantined for nearly seven decades, yet somehow here he was- dead center in zombie town.

He moved swiftly through the lit alleys and streets, hoping to make his way back the way he came. The bastards were already swarming in, no doubt they had heard his boots or caught the scent of his warm blood. Their moaning cries and gnashing teeth echoed in the empty dome. Their dragging feet, and gurgling stomachs was a chorus of nausea. It was enough to make even the most vile ganger cringe. Not the Stranger though, oh no. He had seen war. War against things he wanted to forget. Still, he needed to be alert otherwise suffer the same fate as these poor souls.
“Emperors’ Eyes’!” Dax cursed more than prayed.
He was blocked in. Both ends of the street had flooded with the undead. No less than three dozen cramming together, hands out stretched and jaws snapping.
He unloaded on a few, making sure they were headshots, and scrambled up to high ground again. Looking out beyond the few hab units, he realized he was surrounded, and he knew his power packs were not enough to shoot his way out. The zombie horde was now a hundred or more and getting larger.
“Oh frag it” He mumbled, leaping off the shack he stood on to the nearest roof, decomposing hands lunging for him.
There were a dozen more roofs that the Stranger could see. He knew there had to be a blast door on the other side. He shot a few more zombies and vaulted, head over heels to the next roof. The horde seemed to be moving in unison each time he relocated. He figured it may take him some time to reach the end of the dome but so far none seemed to be climbing and his laspistols were at half power. Everything seemed to be going reasonable until he started to feel the dome tremble and the lights cut out. The quaking continued for a brief time but the lights never came back on. He was now in the complete darkness, on a roof of some lean to in the middle of Lost Hope.
“Just my luck, guess it couldn’t get worse than this.” He shook his head firing into the zombies below.
Shouting as vulgar as he could, he shot half a dozen before flashing his blue light, looking for the next roof. Not being able to see their hideous faces made it somewhat more disturbing, as the cacophony begin to gnaw at his mind. He fired again. And again.
“Come on you bastards! You won’t drag me down! Can’t get any worse than this,you fraggers!” He shouted.

Jumping to the next roof he scanned the ground. More and more of the horde were lumbering about. He sneered and spit. He could see in the distance ahead, maybe less than a hundred yards, what appeared to be a massive ventilation duct, its cover still intact. Smiling he made a break for it but stopped cold in his tracks, as the dome shook violently again. The Stranger nearly slipped off the roof from the force of it. Standing up he nearly froze as he saw the beast. He couldn’t see it too clear, its talons scraping on the rockrete and its blind eyes looming up from just over the next roof. Its mighty roar so piercing he covered his ears and fell to his knees. Things were just about to get worse.
***
The Dark One knew something was not right tonight. The Hive Spirits were uneasy. It was the second quake this evening and the few holesteaders’ he encountered bid him stay away from the territory, as the cursed settlement of Lost Hope was near. He wondered; what type of a man, would this Orlock be? Would he have the balls and brains to survive hiding in the one place most men, would dare to look? One way to find out, and it was on the way to his next destination anyhow. He quickened his pace, hoping he would find his target; all the while the Hive vibrated from the quakes aftershocks.




A mere days’ ride away from the shanty towns outside Hive Primus, a small caravan of vehicles raced through the wasteland. They were hoping to beat the storm that was on the horizon, find shelter amongst the low lying black stone hills that jutted out from the ash like obsidian towers.
“Journeymen” a voice through a broken vox said, its rebreather kicking on.
Another clicked on and a hooded figure stepped into the moonlight.
“Aye Yago, the pirates’ men told truth. Find Olaq, we shall be needing his missile launcher soon.”
The first man sped off through the black rock and the hooded man looked up into the sky. What stars he did see he prayed to. His blue eyes shone in the dark. He looked back towards the great Hive Primus and nodded to it.
“Soon.” He said, disappearing into the black rock and ash.

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